The founder of Luna Theatre, Dassia has been directing and performing in productions using masks and puppetry since 1993. Locally she has worked with Sara Peattie's Puppeteers' Cooperative and Underground Railway Theatre. She has taught communities to make giant puppets for parades and pageants in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine and performed in puppet operas directed by Amy Trompetter in New York. Locally she has created parades for Art Beat, First Night, and Israel's 50th Independence Day. A scholar-artist, she received her Ph.D. in theatre history at Tufts University in 2007 and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. Her primary areas of research are Russian and Russian émigré performance and world puppetry traditions.
Since 1995, Luna Theatre has been committed to providing audiences in the greater Boston area with experimental adult puppetry performances that explore diverse cultural and artistic traditions.
We believe that theatre should be both theatrical and fantastical. Luna Theatre combines the natural world with imagination, and traditional stories with new ones, using puppetry, masks, and movement as creative, expressive forms.
Luna's approach to theatre is based on collaboration and communication across cultures. Our goal is to build a stronger arts community surrounding puppetry for adults through interactive dialogue about artistic techniques, artistic trends, and personal experiences in performance. We seek to explore the roots of theatricality through shadow puppet transformations and magic. Our work is entirely collaborative rather than relying on the traditional directorial structure: we write, design, create, and perform original work. Much of this work is inspired and accompanied by live vocal music, taken from traditional Bulgarian women's folk songs, and interspersed with jazz improvisation.
Luna has presented at diverse locations such as the Puppeteers of America Regional Puppetry Festival, Art Beat, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, First Night, and Boston University. This dedication to diversity in the arts had been rewarded with funding by the Somerville Arts Council, Boston Cultural Council, the Puppeteers of America, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
The Nose is a modern, absurd reinterpretation of the Gogol short story, a surreal tale of a man who wakes up one morning to find his nose missing. The performance utilizes movement, music, shadow puppets, and language to highlight the story's surreal and dramatic elements. It is a bilingual performance, and can be performed in Russian, English, or both.
Cabaret pieces, often performed under the title: “Rocks, Flames, and other Misfortunes”: a series of short puppetry and live music pieces. Images are inspired by Russian Futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, seasonal changes, urban landscapes, human behavior, and lyrics from traditional Bulgarian music. The show explores ways of challenging the parameters of traditional shadow puppetry by decorating the human body, by using children's toys, and by incorporating masks and giant puppets. This is a multi-lingual performance and is performed entirely in Bulgarian, Russian, and gibberish.
Most fun collaboration:
Run at the Puppet Showplace Theatre for their adult puppetry series in spring 2005 of “Translations: An Evening of East European Tales,” a live collaboration with Bulgarian women’s folk choir Yasna Voices.